The constant negative news about how human activities and waste products are hurting the environment and wildlife have motivated me to make some changes. For example, determined to reduce my use of plastic, I made a carrying case for silverware to put in my purse. Now when I grab a quick bite out, I don’t have to use a plastic fork. Below are instructions for making this simple portable pocket, which is fast to sew and also makes a thoughtful present.

The pouch I made for myself, open and closed.

Initially, I considered getting some bamboo utensils since they are made from sustainable materials and are also light weight. But they felt too light to me, too much like plastic, which is not only bad for the environment, but can make pretty flimsy utensils. I stopped by Goodwill and discovered I could get used metal utensils for just ten cents a piece! My knife, fork, and spoon don’t match, but at least I won’t hesitate to use them.

Measure your utensils to make sure they’ll fit in your pouch. (3 inches wide seems to be plenty)

The case I made is basically just a cloth pocket. I picked out two bright fabrics I love, grabbed some old ribbon, and in a very short time, had a case to carry my utensils. You could add or subtract items. While I have a knife, I may stop carrying it unless I find myself using it. You could add a reusable straw or chopsticks as well.

Written Directions for One DIY Utensil Pouch:
Supplies: utensils; fabric; 24″ piece of ribbon, cord, or yarn; thread; scissors; needle or sewing machine

  1. Collect the utensils you want to carry (Options include: fork, spoon, knife, straw, chopsticks).
  2. Measure your tallest utensil in inches and round up to the nearest inch to get U.
  3. Calculate L = (2 x U) + 2. The additional 2 inches allow for minimal overlap; you can do more if you want. [Example: my knife is about 8.5 inches long, so U = 9. L = (2 x 9) + 2 = 20. This will probably work for most normal utensils, but you’ll have to adjust if you are including a straw.]
  4. Cut two rectangular pieces of coordinating fabric 3 inches wide by L inches long.*
  5. Place the two pieces of fabric right sides together and pin around the edge. Use distinctive pins or double pins to mark the gap you will leave open. Since the tie is going to go into this gap, place it (4 x U)/3 inches from one end. (12 inches for the example).
  6. Sew 1/4 inch from the edge, leaving the space between the markers open.
  7. Clip corners.
  8. Turn inside out and press flat, folding under the seam allowance at the opening so it matches the rest of the bag.
  9. Fold your ribbon or cord in half and insert folded end into opening. Pin opening closed, making sure to catch the tie so it doesn’t move while you sew.
  10. Top stitch 1/4 inch from edge all the way around, stitching back and forth over the tie a few times to secure it.
  11. Fold the end farthest from the ribbon up (2 x U)/3 inches (6 inches for example) and pin. (Your tie should be near the top edge of the pocket this will make.)
  12. Top stitch the sides of the pocket.
  13. Put your utensils in the pocket, fold down the top, and tie closed.
Utensil pouch instructions for those who like visuals (Diagram by Kit Dunsmore)

*If you are using just one fabric, you can cut a single rectangle 6 inches by L inches and fold it in half.

A pouch I made for a friend from a single fabric. I “fussy cut” the fabric to get some intact horse heads.

What are you doing to reduce your plastic use?

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